THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday announced that it is again easing its rules and requirements for departing foreign nationals due to the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the country.
BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said departing aliens with BI-approved visas but who do not have their I-Cards yet will no longer be required by immigration officers at the airports to present an I-Card waiver order from the bureau.
Medina said that in lieu of the I-Card waiver order, the passengers will instead be asked to present their passport with visa implementation stamp and official receipts of payment for their ACR I-Card waiver application fee, Emigration Clearance Certificate/Reentry Permit (ECC/RP) or Special Return Certificate (SRC).
“The passenger will also be advised to safekeep the copies of his official receipts as the same should be presented to our immigration officer upon his return to the Philippines,” Medina added.
It will be recalled that the BI previously allowed aliens with BI-approved visas to leave without I-Cards last March when Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ which prompted the Bureau to suspend services or scale down operations in most of its offices.
The BI resumed issuing ACR I-Cards and I-Card waiver orders in June after the bureau launched its online appointment system for clients after Metro Manila was placed under less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ).
However, the BI recently bared that despite the implementation of stricter health protocols, more than 70 of its employees have been infected with the virus.
The policy will be implemented until December 31 of this year and its effectivity may be extended or revoked early, depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
By allowing these aliens to leave pending release of their I-Cards, the BI said it is hoped that the number of people going to the BI offices will be lessened and physical distancing will be achieved, thus preventing the further spread of the virus among our frontline personnel and clients.